Our organization will be heading to an official home at the William and Mary Alumni Association nearly 30 years after GALA’s founding in 1986. On March 22, the Board of the Directors of the William and Mary Alumni Association approved a proposal for a new constituency group during their D.C. meeting. This is an historic move for both organizations.
Stay tuned in the coming months for more information about the transition as we shift from an independent entity to one housed and fully-integrated with the William and Mary Alumni Association. With this recognition, there are many, many benefits to come for our group. The road here has been a long one, but together we have thoughtfully considered the future and goals of this organization. Now comes the fun part: getting back to the work we do well and would like to do more of — advancing LGBT alumni issues and offering support, mentorship, and guidance to the College’s LGBT studies, alumni, and allies.
Yours in service,
The GALA Board
We are just one week away from Homecoming 2013! We hope your plans include a trip to Williamsburg and that you will join us at one of these GALA events:
John Boswell Memorial Lecture
WHEN: Friday, October 25, 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Tyler Hall, Room 102
This year’s Boswell Memorial Lecture Series Speaker is Kathryn Babayan, Professor and Director of the Armenian Studies Program at the University of Michigan and an international expert on gender and sexuality in Islam. A reception will follow outside in the Blair Garden.
Homecoming Block Party
WHEN: Friday, October 25, 6:00 p.m.
WHERE: Alumni House and Richmond Road
GALA will have space at this annual Homecoming event, which features food and beverages for purchase, live music, and other entertainment. Look for the rainbow balloons!
Homecoming Tailgate Party
WHEN: Saturday, October 26, Noon
WHERE: Sunken Gardens
GALA will have space at the main on-campus Saturday Homecoming event, giving alumni an opportunity to meet other alumni, mingle with students and faculty, and enjoy a (hopefully) beautiful October day in the Sunken Gardens. $20 registration payable to the W&M Alumni Association.
Annual GALA Reception
WHEN: Saturday, October 26, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Tucker Hall Foyer
Join GALA in between reunion events for an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and intimate conversation at the newly-renovated Tucker Hall in the center of old campus. We will hold a short program highlighting the year’s achievements and looking forward to the next year. Students, faculty, and friends are welcome to attend! To help us anticipate catering needs, please RSVP no later than Tuesday, October 22.
2013 has been a busy year for W&M GALA so far. Some highlights:
- We expanded our use of social media, growing our Facebook group to more than 210 members and initiating a W&M GALA Twitter feed that counts nearly 50 followers after just five months. (We even had a celebrity re-tweet!)
- We launched a new e-mail newsletter with a more polished look. Our newsletter is read by more than 300 people in nearly 20 countries.
- We hosted 15 events in Williamsburg, VA, Washington, DC, and New York, NY, introducing (and re-introducing) our students, faculty, and alumni to Pariah filmmaker Nekisa Cooper ’99, Eminent Outlaws author Chris Bram ’74, Professor Tom Heacox, and other notable alumni and faculty.
- We launched the Boswell Initiative, a fund that supports interdisciplinary scholarship on LGBTIQ life through visiting professors, courses, lectures, workshops, film series, student and faculty research stipends, academic written works, and arts/theater productions. The Boswell Initiative has received more than $16,000 in commitments through GALA so far.
- We welcomed Robert Tisdale ’08 (Treasurer) and James Morton ’12 (Secretary) as GALA officers.
- We helped the William & Mary alumni team for AIDS Walk New York raise more than $15,000, contributing to the team’s 20-year total of $235,000, more than any other college alumni group.
- We co-sponsored and announced events on campus to support the efforts of LGBTIQ student and faculty organizations, including the second annual LGBTIQ Pride Fest and Drag Ball and a financial planning seminar for same-sex couples led by the business school’s Mason Alliance.
- We supported our alumni and faculty in their quest for equal rights, contributing to the successful marriage equality effort led by Marylanders for Marriage Equality and helping to define and publicize the need for domestic partner benefits for employees of Virginia’s public institutions, including the College.
- We continued to support multiple GALA-initiated projects on campus, including the John Boswell Memorial Lecture Series and the Stephens LGBTIQ oral history project at Swem Library.
The Virginia House of Delegates voted 80-19 today to approve HB1617, a bill that would invite any religious or political university student group to discriminate as they please and still require the campus to providing them funding and access to campus facilities. This would make LGBT students particularly vulnerable to discrimination because universities’ protections for sexual orientation are not enforceable under Virginia law. Click here for more information.
Hudson Taylor founded Athlete Ally in January of 2011. An athlete all his life, Hudson experienced demeaning humor in high school and college athletics, but befriended LGBT people when studying theater and Interactive Performance Art at the University of Maryland. Seeing the juxtaposition between the theatre department and the locker room, Hudson felt it was imperative that he confront a side of sports that no athlete should be proud of: sports marginalize LGBT athletes, coaches and others through systemic homophobia and transphobia. Hudson decided that he could no longer watch from the sidelines as his athletic culture isolated and segregated LGBT athletes and betrayed the integrity and diversity at the heart of athletics.
When Hudson wore an LGBT equality sticker from the Human Rights Campaign on his wrestling headgear, he encountered criticism from his peers, but received positive attention from the media. Following his presence in the media, Hudson received hundreds of emails from parents and closeted athletes. This experience inspired him to found this non-for-profit organization, with the mission of educating, encouraging and empowering straight athlete allies to combat homophobia and transphobia in sports.
Hudson Taylor to speak @ W&M
January 28th @ 9pm
Sadler Center – Commonwealth Auditorium
GALA urges members to remember the William and Mary Alumni and Friends Team that has walked in every NYC AIDS Walk for more than a generation. The walk is Sunday, May 20 and there is time to pledge. Follow this link to offer support to the Team Organizer, Gary Cowling — also the recipient of GALA’s 2011 Director’s Cup.
Students on campus at William and Mary held the first-ever on campus celebration of LGTBIQ Pride (along with lots and lots of food coloring, see photo), part of a larger week-long celebration of all kinds of racial and sexual diversity. Read more here.